Democrats look to bar ‘insurrectionists’ from office after Supreme Court reinstates Trump

A pair of House Democrats are seeking to introduce legislation that would bar “insurrectionists” from holding federal office after the Supreme Court ruled this week individual states could not use that standard to omit former President Donald Trump from the 2024 ballot. 

Reps. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) are revising legislation that would provide a federal enforcement mechanism for the 14th Amendment, which includes a clause that bars people who have “engaged in insurrection” from holding office. The bill would build on previous efforts from lawmakers to approve legislation that would allow lawmakers to execute that clause. 

“Our bill affirms the constitutional directive that anyone who swears to protect the Constitution but violates that oath by engaging in insurrection or rebellion can never serve again in federal or state office,” the pair said in a joint statement. “It then provides a federal judicial process to determine whether a defendant is in fact an insurrectionist, making available both Attorney General actions for declaratory and injunctive relief in the United States District Court of Columbia and corresponding private rights of action there too.” 

The move comes in direct response to the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision on Monday to validate Trump’s name on the Colorado presidential ballot after a state court previously ruled the former president violated the insurrectionist clause and was therefore ineligible. The majority opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Colorado’s decision and halted similar rulings one day before Super Tuesday, when Colorado and dozens of other states will vote for their preferred primary candidate ahead of the November general election.

However, the court upheld in its decision that the 14th Amendment itself is not “self-executing” and that it would require congressional action to be executed. That prompted a quick response from Democrats, who said they would work to “provide the closely tailored enabling legislation that the Court is now requiring.”


“The good news is that the Supreme Court never challenged the Colorado Supreme Court’s factual finding that Donald Trump had participated in the insurrection that took place on January 6, 2021,” the lawmakers wrote. 

It’s not clear how soon that legislation could be drafted, and it’s unlikely the proposal would even be brought to the House floor under Republican leadership. However, it underscores the efforts by Democrats to keep Trump from returning to the White House next year.

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